Jack Marley wasn’t going to let anything or anyone stop him from stepping onto the plane to Paris.
The young heavyweight prospect literally fought his way to Olympic status in Poland today.
The Monkstown heavyweight became Ireland’s first major international medal winner at the weight in 76 years when he reached the semi-finals of the European Games on Wednesday- but needed a final berth to ensure Olympic qualification.
He secured that silver medal and a ticket to Paris today after producing one of the great come-from-behind performances in recent Irish boxing history.
Marley found himself trailing to Spain’s Emmanuel Reyes after the first round of Friday’s big man semi-final – but never gave up and flipped the result on its head with an ultra-aggressive second two sessions.
Another Irish boxer qualified for the Olympic Games. @MONKSTOWNBC 's Jack Marley, with an incredible come from behind performance, after losing the opening rd. It's quite rare in amateur boxing, but he completely turned the tables with an excellent 2nd & 3rd round. Paris bound 🙏 pic.twitter.com/eRkkr7t1Wa— Eric Lilywhite Lightning Donovan (@ericdonovanbox) June 30, 2023
The Sallynoggin boxer took matters into his own gloved hands and made sure the fighter, who ended Kirill Afanasev’s Tokyo dream in the last Olympic cycle, didn’t break Irish hearts again.
The reigning National 92kg champ took the fight to the experienced Spaniard and bullied his way into the final and to Paris, eventually winning via split decision.
Marley’s win now means Ireland already have four boxing Paris 2024 Olympians, as he joins Kellie Harrington, Michaela Walsh and Dean Clancy on the plane. Middleweight Aoife O’Rourke will look to make it five when she competes in the same ring later this evening.